5000 Years of History – From Genesis to the Modern Age
In the north of Israel, on the shores of the Mediterranean, lies a magical city with a rich and varied cultural texture, whose history begins at the dawn of time – and that city is Acre.
Acre is a very pivotal city that underwent a great many upheavals and different regimes, yet throughout history, Jewish settlement there was a constant.
An ancient Hebrew legend has it that the sea flooded the world and when it reached the shores of Acre, it stopped short, as is written in the Book of Job (38:11): "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further." In the legend, the Hebrew words "ad po" (hitherto) become "ad ko" and hence, Acco (Acre).
Thanks to its natural harbor, Acre became the gate to the Land of Israel and had the privilege of attracting a great many dominant figures of Jewish history throughout the ages – Abraham, the Father of the Jewish Nation, visited Acre on his way from Harran to the Land of Israel; Hasmoneans Jonathan and Simon fought the Greeks in heroic battles at the City's gates.
During the Roman Period, Tannaim and Amoraim lived in the city, e.g.: Rabban Gamliel who bathed in the bathhouse of Aphrodite and Rabbi Abba who kissed the stones of Acre.
The Crusader period was marked by the arrival of a great many Rishonim (leading Rabbis who lived from the 11th to the 15th centuries) such as: Maimonides, Nahmanides, Rabbi Yechiel of Paris along with 300 Rabbis and Tosafists (medieval rabbis).
In the 18th century, the Ottomans conquered the city and during their rule, Jewish settlement blossomed and attracted Acharonim (leading Rabbis who lived from the 16th century to the present) such as: Rabbi Chaim Ben-Atar, the Ramchal, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov and Haim Farhi – al-Jazzar's Jewish adviser and right hand man.
In the early 20th century, the British obtained a mandate over Israel and used the Citadel of Acre to imprison the underground fighters who fought bravely to establish the State of Israel and continued to do so from within the prison walls. They subsequently managed to escape in a daring prison break operation.
During the War of Independence, at the time of Operation Ben-Ami, the City ridded itself of foreign rule and gained independent sovereignty.
During the tour, we will walk the city's enchanting alleys and listen to the stones telling the stories of past events: We will join the Hasmoneans in their battle against the Greek general, take a dip with Rabban Gamliel in the bathhouse, sail Acre's sea with Nicanor (who was a Seleucid General during the Hasmonean revolt), explore the city's unique markets and delight in the odors of spices and dishes, visit the Ramchal Synagogue, break through the walls of the prison with the underground prisoners and call it a day with the city's release during the War of Independence.
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